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Supercomputer builds virus ! - 3/16/2006 8:10:23 AM   

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One of the world’s biggest super computers has managed to create a virus.

While many might be panicking that it could all be part of a cunning plan to have robots take over the world and destroy humanoids by spreading particularly nasty strains of bird flu, the hacks at Nature magazine assure us that it is only a model.

By simulating the bug, boffins hope that they will be able to reveal details about how viruses invade cells and cause disease.

Klaus Schulten at the University of Illinois, Urbana, and his colleagues built a computer model based on the satellite tobacco mosaic virus.

Using a computer program called NAMD to simulate biological molecules on the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Urbana, they ran several hundred different processors in parallel to work out the problem.

The program calculated how each of the million or so atoms in the virus and a surrounding drop of salt water were interacting with almost every other atom every millionth of a billionth of a second.

They were able to see the the entire virus in action for 50 billionths of a second. Apparently it pulses in and out asymmetrically, as if it were breathing.

It has also showed that the virus takes its coat off to reproduce rather than inserting the genetic material into a complete coat. We would have thought that taking one’s coat off to reproduce would be the first step for a romantically inclined virus.

More here.

Source : TheInquirer
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